CTC Math is an online, subscription-based math program for kindergarten through high school created and taught by Australian math teacher Patrick Murray. It is intended to serve as your core math program, although it could also be used to supplement other math courses.
For each course, lessons are divided into a number of “streams” or broad areas of math then further divided into topics within each stream. Then each topic will have a number of lessons. For example, the kindergarten level has four "streams", and the first one (Number, Patterns and Algebra) has eight topics, Number I, Number II, Patterns, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Fractions, and Money. There are a number of lessons for each of these topics. This amounts to a lot of content at each grade level.
At the topic level, there are optional diagnostic tests that might be used either as pre-tests or post-tests for all courses up through Algebra II. Using them as pre-tests, you can find out if your child already knows a topic and can skip to the next grade level in that particular stream. You can also use either test as a final exam when a student has completed the lessons within that topic. There are three forms of diagnostic tests: short, standard, or comprehensive. The tests all draw from the same bank of questions, but comprehensive tests present about twice as many questions as do the standard tests. While the diagnostic tests will tell the parent or teacher what a student knows or needs to learn, the program doesn't automatically prescribe a grade level or course based on the tests.
On the menu, directly under the diagnostic tests are the lessons for that topic. Since there are no diagnostic tests for Pre-Calculus and Calculus, simply click on the first lesson and start those courses.
Each lesson begins with a brief tutorial that runs from four to nine minutes. Tutorials use colorful graphics and animations with Patrick Murray’s voice-over explanation. The consistency of hearing just one voice makes this program feel more personal and predictable than some other programs where the style of presentation and the voice-overs frequently change. Murray’s Australian accent is very understandable. The program uses U.S. currency in the U.S. Version, and I expect that the program for those in at least Great Britain and Australia uses those countries' currencies.
You can print out a one-page summary of each video tutorial for handy reference or review if you wish. There is only one tutorial for each topic, but parents can reach out to customer service if a student needs additional help. The folks at CTC Math tell me, "We also record and send additional videos to provide a further explanation of a particular question or concept. We don’t want parents to have to rely on other curriculums or programs." CTC includes printable weekly review sheets with 26 problems. These reviews should help you spot weak areas right away.
After the tutorial, students are given a series of interactive questions. Students type their answers into the computer or use the mouse to select an answer. The program immediately scores their work, and it also maintains student records. You can print a page showing the problems with their step-by-step solutions.
Sometimes lessons require students to type in words, although not for young learners. A speaker icon can be used to hear questions read aloud, which is especially helpful for non-readers or struggling readers. This makes it possible for even young children to work independently.
If students don't answer enough problems correctly, they can re-watch the tutorial if necessary and then tackle a different problem set. The program has a huge database and will present one or more additional sets of problems that are different from the original set. So students can practice a concept as much as they need. In addition, the program adapts questions to the student's level, making them easier if a student is struggling or more challenging if the student exhibits mastery. The program allows students to go back and repeat lessons or jump ahead to a different topic if that is helpful. Keep in mind that you can always advance a child to a higher grade level or have them move through lessons more quickly.
CTC includes a Question Bank Wizard (QBW) that lets you create either online interactive sets of questions or printable worksheets that you can tailor to specific topics. You can select a level of difficulty for the questions, and you can set the QBW to produce a particular number of questions or to run for a specified length of time (for interactive online sets). If you are creating a printable worksheet, you can click a button to have the program add space for working out problems. The QBW allows you to add as much targeted practice or review as you want. The QBW also provides a way to differentiate the level of difficulty to suit each student.
Students at all levels need to be familiar with paper-and-pencil math. Older students will need to do some paper-and-pencil work to solve complex problems in CTC Math. However, younger students also need to be given opportunities for paper-and-pencil problem solving since CTC Math at younger levels rarely makes their use necessary. The Question Bank Wizard solves this problem if you use it to create printable worksheets.
CTC Math doesn't waste a lot of time with animations and praise, although there is praise that is presented efficiently for work done well. For each topic area, the program shows a reward ribbon symbol that varies by level of accomplishment: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The program also provides certificates of accomplishment for each section that parents can print out if they wish. Parents can access detailed reports showing topics studied, time spent, and quiz and test scores. Reports and certificates can also be automatically emailed to the parent or teacher as well.
The early courses are labeled for kindergarten through sixth grade. These are followed by the Basic Math and Pre-Algebra course. Immediately following the Basic Math and Pre-Algebra course are Elementary Measurement and Elementary Geometry. The latter two courses cover geometry topics that are usually taught before high school level geometry, so students should complete the group of all three courses before tackling high school courses. There should be plenty of time to do so.
For high school, you might want to have students complete the Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus courses in addition to the core courses if you want them to have more rigorous coverage. Note that CTC Math courses go all the way through Calculus.
CTC Math offers monthly and yearly subscription plans with a 12-month money-back guarantee (no questions asked). They also offer membership for a single student or a family plan for two or more students. The family plan for twelve months is clearly the best deal and especially so if you have more than two children. Each student is given an individual login, and the program tracks their progress. The student has access to all grade levels for the subscription period. This is especially valuable since it is difficult to identify just one grade level that covers everything a particular child needs to learn, and your child might complete more than one grade level in a year.
In my opinion, CTC Math is an excellent option for math. It is easy to navigate, and it is efficient in both the tutorials and the presentation of problems to solve. The fact that students can review and practice as needed is a real plus. Students can watch tutorials or jump in and try to complete the problems without watching the tutorial if they think they already know the concept.